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Useful Shortcuts

PC Shortcuts

These keystrokes have been tested on Windows XP Professional. Some may not work on older systems (although most do). Please note that Ctrl is short for the Control key.

Know a great keyboard shortcut that we haven't listed? Please email us at

Desktop/Windows Explorer Shortcuts

Rename Selected File F2
Delete Item without moving to Recycle Bin Shift–Delete
Search for Files or Folders F3
Drop down the Address/Location Menu F4
View the folder one level up Backspace
View Selected Item's Properties Alt–Enter
Keyboard equivalent to Right-Clicking with a mouse Shift–F10
Cycle through screen elements in a window or on the desktop F6

Windows Explorer Tree View

Expand everything under current selection * (on keypad)
Expand current selection + (on keypad)
Collapse current selection – (on keypad)
Expand current selection (or go to first child item) Right arrow
Collapse current selection (or go to parent item) Left arrow

NOTE: If keypad keystrokes do not work turn Num lock on and try again.

Internet Explorer Shortcuts

Go to website without having to type in http://www or .com Enter only name of website (like yahoo) and press Ctrl–Enter
Highlight Address line (to enter new website) F6 (or Alt–D)
Refresh webpage F5 or Ctrl–R
Refresh the Webpage bypassing the browser's cache Ctrl–Refresh

Uses for Windows System Key

Open Windows Explorer Windows Key–E
Search for Files or Folders Windows Key–F
Search for Computers Windows Key–Ctrl–F
Minimize all windows and show Desktop Windows Key–D (press again to re-open windows and go back)
Minimize all open windows Windows Key–M (Windows Key–Shift–M will undo)
Open Run Command Windows Key–R
Cycle through taskbar buttons Windows Key–Tab (press Spacebar or Enter to choose selected item)
Open System Properties dialog box Windows Key–Pause/Break
Open Utility Manager Windows Key–U
Lock Computer/Switch Users (Windows XP only) Windows Key–L

Working with Windows/Programs

Highlight First Menubar Item (that typically is the File menu) F10 (you can then use arrows or letters to navigate)
Switch Windows/Programs Alt–Tab (hold Alt, keep hitting Tab and release all keys to switch)
Switch to Next Document Window Ctrl–F6
Switch to Previous Document Window Ctrl–Shift–F6
Cycle through screen elements in a window or on the desktop F6
Opens the shortcut menu for the active window Alt–Spacebar
Close Current Window Ctrl–F4 (sometimes Ctrl–W also works)
Close Program Alt–F4 (sometimes Ctrl–Q also works)

Open/Save Dialog Boxes

Drop down the Location Menu (depending on cursor placement, may also open other menus like the File Name menu) F4
Refresh View F5
Go to parent folder (if focus is on view window) Backspace

Taking Screenshots (Copy Screen to Clipboard)

Capture Entire Screen Print Screen
Capture Frontmost Window Only Alt–Print Screen

To use the screen capture: Go to your desired program (such as Photoshop) and Paste it into a document.

Shutdown/Startup Commands

Shut Down Windows XP Press Windows Key (don't hold it down), then press U two times
Shut Down Windows 2000 Press Windows Key (don't hold it down)
Press U
Press S (To choose Shut Down from menu)
Press Enter
Start Up in Safe Mode Start computer and press F8 at appropriate time. Choose Safe Mode
Force Windows to Detect New Monitors (great for laptops!) F8 (haven’t been able to test myself)


Start Windows Help F1
Bypass auto-run when inserting CD Hold Shift while inserting CD
Open the Start Menu Ctrl–Esc (or Windows Key)


Mac Keyboard Shortcuts

These keystrokes have been tested on Mac OS 10.4 (Tiger) and some may not work on older systems (although most do). Please note that Cmd is short for the Command key (otherwise called the Apple key).

Know a great keyboard shortcut that we haven't listed? Please email us at

Guide to the Mac's Menu Symbols

Symbol:Key on Keyboard:
command Command (or Apple key)
option Option
shift Shift
control Control
tab Tab
return Return
enter Enter (on Number Pad)
delete Delete
escape Escape
pageup Page Up
pagedown Page Down
gohome Home
end End
arrows Arrow Keys

Finder Shortcuts

Open Sidebar item in a new window Cmd-click it
Switch Finder views (Icon, List, Column) Cmd-1, Cmd-2, Cmd-3
In List view, expand a folder Right Arrow
In List view, collapse a folder Left Arrow
Rename the selected file/folder Press Return (or Enter)
In List view, switch column display type (Name, Date, Size, etc.) Ctrl-Tab
Go into selected folder Cmd-Down Arrow
Go to parent folder Cmd-Up Arrow
Alternate columns in Column View Tab (Shift-Tab reverses direction)
Select the next icon in Icon and List views Tab (Shift-Tab reverses direction)
If a filename is too long and is condensed with a "..." hold Option while mousing over it to instantly pop up the full name. Hold Option over long filenames
Resize current column to fit the longest file name Double-Click column resize widget
Resize all columns to fit their longest file names Option Double-Click resize widget
Copy and Paste files Cmd-C, Cmd-V
Move a file instead of copying. (Copies the file to the destination and removes it from the original disk.) Cmd-Drag file to disk
Move selected files to the Trash Cmd-Delete
Empty the Trash (with warning) Cmd-Shift-Delete
Empty the Trash (without warning) Cmd-Opt-Shift-Delete
Cancel a drag-n-drop action while in the midst of dragging Esc
Show Inspector (a single, live refreshing Info window) Cmd-Opt-I
Undo the last action (such as rename file, copy file, etc.) Cmd-Z
Hide/Show Sidebar (on the left) Cmd-Opt-Ctrl-T
Move or Remove item in toolbar (at the top of the window). This works in most programs. Cmd-drag

Application Switcher

Quickly switch between 2 programs (ie: InDesign & Photoshop) Press Cmd-Tab to switch to the last used program.
Press Cmd-Tab again to switch back.
NOTE: Press keys quickly and do NOT hold them down.
To switch between programs (but you choose which program to switch to) Press Cmd-Tab and continue holding Cmd.
While holding Cmd, to choose which program you want to switch to you can:
  • press Tab (several times if needed) to scroll right
  • press Shift-Tab or tilde(~) to scroll left
  • use the left/right arrow keys
  • aim with the mouse
  • use end/home keys to just to first/last item
To quit a program using the application switcher When in the app switcher you're already holding Cmd
Once the program is selected hit Q to quit.
To hide a program using the application switcher When in the app switcher you're already holding Cmd
Once the program is selected hit H to hide.
To cancel/get out of the application switcher once it's open When in the app switcher you're already holding Cmd
Hit Esc or period(.)

Dock Shortcuts

Hide all other applications (except the one you're clicking on) Command-Option click an App's icon in Dock
Reveal a Dock item's location in the Finder Command click on the icon in the Dock
Move and a Dock item to somewhere else on the hard drive Command drag the icon from the Dock to new destination
Force a file to open in a specific program While dragging the file onto an app's icon in the Dock, hold Command-Option
When in an app's Dock menu, holding Option changes the Quit to Force Quit Hold Option while in Dock menu
Force the Dock to only resize to non-interpolated icon sizes Hold Option while dragging Dock separator
Move Dock to left, bottom, right side of screen Hold Shift and drag Dock divider

Working with Windows

Switch windows (works in almost every program) Cmd-tilde(~)
See where the File/Folder is located (a menu will pop-up displaying the folder hierarchy). This works in “most” programs as well as the Finder. Cmd-Click on name of the window located in its titlebar
Move a window in the background without switching to it (Example: You’re in a dialog and can’t move a window in the background, so Cmd-Drag its titlebar.) Cmd-Drag on a window’s titlebar

Taking Screenshots

Take picture of the entire screen Cmd-Shift-3
Take picture of a selected area Cmd-Shift-4 and Drag over desired area
Take picture of a specific window Cmd-Shift-4, then press Spacebar, then Click on the window
Copy the screenshot to the clipboard instead of making a file Hold Control with the above keystrokes

Screenshots are saved to the Desktop as PNG file in OS 10.4 (or a PDF file in 10.3 and prior).

Startup Commands

Eject CD on boot Hold Mouse button down immediately after powering on
OS X Safe boot Press Shift during startup
Start up in FireWire Target Disk mode Press T during startup
Startup from a CD Press C during startup
Bypass primary startup volume and seek a different startup volume (CD, etc.) Press Cmd-Opt-Shift-Delete during startup
Choose Startup disk before booting Press Option during startup
Start up in Verbose mode Press Cmd-V during startup
Start up in Single-User mode (command line) Press Cmd-S during startup
Force Powerbook screen reset Press R during startup
Force OS X startup Press X during startup

Shutdown Commands

Shutdown immediately (no confirmation) Cmd-Opt-Ctrl-Eject
Restart, Sleep, Shutdown dialog (like hitting the Power button on old Mac keyboards) Ctrl-Eject


Open/Close Widget Dock Cmd-Plus(+)
Cycle to next/previous “page” of widgets in widget dock Cmd-Right/Left Arrow
Close a widget without having to open the widget dock Hold Option and hover over widget (close box will appear)
Reload/Refresh a widget Cmd-R


Open Spotlight Menu Cmd-Space
Open Spotlight Window Cmd-Option-Space
In Spotlight menu: Launch Top Hit Cmd-Return
In Spotlight Menu:
Cmd-click item or press Cmd-Return
In Spotlight Window:
Press Cmd-R
Reveal the selected item in the Finder Cmd up/down arrow
Skip to first result in each category Esc clears to do another search.
Clear Spotlight’s search field Esc a second time closes the spotlight menu.

Working with Text (some only work in Cocoa apps like Safari, Mail, TextEdit, etc.)

Go to end of line Cmd-right arrow
Go to beginning of line Cmd-left arrow
Go to end of all the text Cmd-down arrow
Go to beginning of all the text Cmd-up arrow
Go to end of current or next word Option-right arrow
Go to beginning of current or previous word
NOTE: Add Shift to any of the above keystrokes to make a selection to that point.
Option-left arrow
On Laptops: Delete Text to the right of the cursor (like the Del key on a full keyboard) Function(fn)-Delete
Discontinuous text selections Command-drag
Select non-linear areas Option-drag
Delete entire word to the left Opt-Delete
Look up word in dictionary (new in 10.4) Position mouse over a word, hold Cmd-Ctrl-D
Auto completion word Start typing the word, press Esc (or F5) to open suggested word list


Change system volume without the confirmation beeps Hold Shift while changing volume
Completely smooth scrolling—one pixel at a time (Only works in Cocoa apps) Hold Option while dragging scrollbar
Open System Preferences Hold Option and press the Mute key (Volume Up & Down work too)
Force Quit (opens list so you can choose application) Cmd-Opt-Esc
Force Quit Frontmost Application (without confirmation) Hold Cmd-Opt-Shift-Escape for about 4 seconds
Open Front Row Cmd-Esc
Quickly Exit Front Row Press any F key (like F5)
Customize the toolbar at the top of a window. Works for toolbars like in Safari, Apple Mail, Preview, the Finder, etc. But it doesn't work in all programs, like Firefox. - Rearrange icons:
Hold Cmd and drag the icons around.
- Remove icons:
Hold Cmd and drag icon off toolbar.
- View toolbar options:
Ctrl-click on the toolbar to get a menu.
On Laptops: Scroll (like a mouse’s scroll wheel) - (Only works on newer laptops, & there’s a System Preference to enable it) Slide 2 fingers on the trackpad
On Laptops: Right-click (like on a 2 button mouse) - (Only works on newer laptops, & there’s a System Preference to enable it) Place 2 fingers on the trackpad and Click


Go to the next/previous email in a thread even if you haven’t organized by threads Option-Up/Down Arrow
Scroll the listing of emails at the top (not the actual contents of an email) Ctrl-Page Up/Down


Jump directly to a tool Cmd-1: Scroll tool
Cmd-2: Text tool
Cmd-3: Select tool
Cmd-4: Annotate tool
Switch tools Option-Right Arrow: Next tool
Option-Left Arrow: Previous tool
Zoom in or out Cmd-Plus(+) or Cmd-Minus(-)